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Toe-Tapping Musical SWEET CHARITY Opens Today at Stoneham Theatre

Stoneham Theatre continues Season 16 with the toe-tapping, Broadway musical hit SWEET CHARITY. Performances run now through April 24, 2016. Press Opening is today, April 2, 2016 at 3:00pm.

SWEET CHARITY will be directed by Elliot Norton and IRNE Award-winner Ilyse Robbins. Robbins, who previously directed and choreographed Stoneham Theatre's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, 42nd Street, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among others, will also choreograph.

"I am excited to take on this classic piece that most people associate with the great Bob Fosse. Creating my own interpretation of the piece while paying homage to him is a wonderful challenge for me," shares Robbins.

SWEET CHARITY was directed and choreographed for Broadway by Bob Fosse, where it premiered in 1966 and was subsequently nominated for nine Tony Awards.

The musical, based on Federico Fellini's screenplay for Nights of Cabiria, is a comical but tender look at the adventures and misadventures in the ways of love encountered by New York dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine. Vanessa Dunleavy*, who was last seen at Stoneham Theatre as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family, A New Musical, stars as unlucky-in-love Charity -- singing, dancing, laughing and crying in the all-too-real world of 1960s Times Square, alongside a host of colorful characters. Through trials and tribulations, Charity continues searching for love, ever hopeful. SWEET CHARITY includes famous musical numbers Hey Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, Too Many Tomorrows, There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This, I'm a Brass Band and Baby, Dream Your Dream.

"We often like to do a big, fun Broadway musical in the spring (great dancing is a plus, too), and I've long felt that SWEET CHARITY is an under-appreciated gem of a musical. It's upbeat, sexy, funny, sweet, romantic, and whip-smart all at the same time. I'm still not sure why it's not produced a lot more often, but I'm thrilled to be able to let our audiences see a show they may have not have the chance to see before," says Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes.

SWEET CHARITY will feature student actors alongside professional artists as part of the young company comes to Mainstage program. Cast members include: Meghan Ahern (young company student), Sarah Elizabeth Berube, Deirdre Burke, Serge Clivio, Nicholas Davis, Vanessa Dunleavy*, Kimberly Fife, Steve Gagliastro*, Andrew Giordano*, David Jiles, Jr.*, Sarah Kawalek, Maria LaRossa, Christine A. Maglione*, Dustienne Miller*, Christopher Leon Pittman, Matty Rickard*, Nick Sulfaro*, and Kerri Wilson.

The design team is comprised of Scenic Designer Jon Savage, Lighting Designer Frank Meissner, Jr., Costume Designer Tyler Kinney, Music Director Bethany Aiken, and Sound Designer John Stone.

SWEET CHARITY full production credits: Book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, and Ennio Plaiano. Produced for the Broadway Stage by Fryer, Carr, and Harris. Conceived, staged, and choreographed by Bob Fosse.

Single Tickets for SWEET CHARITY: $50-55 Adults; $45-50 Seniors; $20 Students (with a valid ID). "Thrifty Thursday" tickets cost $15 at the door and are available for the Thursday, March 31, 2016 performance at 7:30pm. Student Rush Tickets start one hour prior to each performance, and 2 Student tickets may be purchased for the price of one (subject to availability). There will be a talkback after the performance on Sunday, April 3, 106 at 2:00pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Stoneham Theatre's Box Office at (781) 279-2200, or visit www.stonehamtheatre.org.

PRINCIPAL ARTISTS:

ILYSE ROBBINS (Director/Choreographer) Stoneham Theatre credits: Directing: How to Succeed..., Miracle on 34th Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Elliot Norton Award - Best Director), 42nd Street (IRNE Award - Best Choreography). Co-directing/choreography: Funny Thing... Forum. Choreography: The Addams Family: A New Musical, The Full Monty, My Fair Lady, The Dinosaur Musical, A Christmas Carol, Dear Miss Garland, A Year with Frog and Toad, Guys on Ice. Performance: Pam - The Full Monty, Mrs. Eynsford-Hill - My Fair Lady, Joyce/Evie - The Sparrow. Recent area credits include: Direction/choreography: Move on the Cha- Cha's (winner Best Dramatic Script - United Solo Festival, NYC), The Little Prince (New Rep), Working (Lyric Stage), Deep Love of Nightgowns (Boston Theater Marathon for Stoneham Theatre), Honk! Jr. (Wheelock Family Theatre Summer Intensive). Choreography: Sondheim on Sondheim (Lyric Stage), Brundibar (Underground Railway Theater), On the Town (Lyric Stage - Best Choreography - Entertainment World Awards), Christmas Carol (Hanover Theater). Performance: Dessa - Tongue of a Bird (New Rep), Lucy - On the Town (Lyric Stage), Ellen/Sylvia - Love, Faith and Other Dirty Words (Modern Theatre). Ilyse holds a BS in Theater from Northwestern University, certification from the British American Drama Academy, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. Ilyse is a visiting professor at Brandeis University and coaches presentation skills and executive presence for Mohr Collaborative. Coming up, Ilyse will choreograph Peter and the Starcatcher for the Lyric Stage this spring and will direct/choreograph Mame, choreograph Lucky Stiff, and direct I Loved, I Lost... at Stoneham Theatre next season. Ilyse is an Associate Member of SDC.

VANESSA DUNLEAVY* (Charity Hope Valentine) Based in New York, Vanessa has been touring and performing regionally for the past 10 years. She is so happy to be back at Stoneham Theatre, where she appeared in last season's The Addams Family: A New Musical. Favorite credits include A Man of No Importance (B-side productions), Damn Yankees (Goodspeed Opera House), Catch Me If You Can (First National Tour), Legally Blonde (North Shore Music Theatre), Really Bad Things (New York Musical Theater Festival), Hairspray (Arizona Broadway Theater), and My Post Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret, a one-woman musical she co-wrote with playwright Dana Yeaton...who is also her father. Visit her at www.vanessadunleavy.com.

STEVE GAGLIASTRO* (Herman) is excited to return to Stoneham, having previously been seen in The Addams Family: A New Musical, Sisters of Swing, The Full Monty, The Sparrow, and several other productions. Tours: Buddy Holly Story (TOTS), Cinderella starring Lea Salonga, Spongebob Squarepants-The Musical (Broadway Asia), and Cabaret with Andrea McCardle (NetWorks Tours). Elsewhere: PCLO, Riverside Theatre, Fulton Theatre, The Gateway, Flat Rock, Ogunquit Playhouses, Casa Man?ana, Lyric Stage Company, Hanover Theatre, Theatre by the Sea, Ocean State Theatre Company, Boston Children's Theatre, Barnstormers, and Maine State Music Theatre. Steve can also be seen in Seth MacFarlane's Ted 2 and David O. Russell's American Hustle. A Massachusetts native, Steve holds a BA in Music/Education from UMASS, Amherst and is a proud member of Actors' Equity and SAG/AFTRA.

ANDREW GIORDANO* (Vittorio Vidal) is happy to return to Stoneham where he was last seen playing Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Broadway World Award, Best Actor in a Musical). Andrew has performed on Broadway, at Carnegie Hall, nationally, internationally and on television. Some favorite credits: Edward Rutledge (1776), Javert (Les Mise?rables), Bruce Granit (On the 20th Century opposite Tony Award winner, Alice Ripley), and Adolpho (The Drowsy Chaperone). Also: See What I Wanna See, Sunset Boulevard, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods, Disney's The Little Mermaid, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, South Pacific (with Reba McEntyre, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lilias White, and Alec Baldwin), and Master Class (opposite Tony and Emmy Award-winning Leslie Uggams). In NYC, under the name Step It Up ClassesTM, Andrew produces musical theatre audition classes taught by Broadway casting directors, Broadway resident/associate directors, and theatrical agents. He also coaches students preparing for their college auditions. Andrew is the owner of the musical act Tenors UndercoverTM (tenorsundercover.com). He's a group exercise and licensed Zumba instructor and an active alumnus of the International program, Up With People. Training: Boston Conservatory, Westminster Choir College.

DAVID JILES, JR.* (Daddy Brubeck) is delighted to be back at Stoneham Theatre. At Stoneham, he was last seen as Horse in The Full Monty. The son of a preacher, the role of Daddy Brubeck seems perfect for him! Recently, David has played the role of Judas in Company Theatre's Jesus Christ Superstar and Pa in SpeakEasy Stage's The Color Purple. During the day, he teaches voice at Berklee College of Music. When David isn't on the theatrical stage, he sings at all types of functions with his soul/funk band. You can see him on Thursday Nights at The Cantab Lounge.

NICK SULFARO* (Oscar) is always happy to return to Stoneham's stage, where he has previously appeared in: How to Succeed..., The Full Monty, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Something's Afoot, and The Nutcracker. Other recent credits include Mikey in Shear Madness, as well as the tenor quintet singer in A Little Night Music (Huntington Theatre Company). He has New Rep credits that include Camelot, Rent, and The Snow Queen. Others: The Nora, Wheelock Family Theatre, and the title role in Bat Boy: The Musical (IRNE Nomination, Best Actor). He holds a BFA from Emerson College. nicksulfaro.com.

Now in its 16th Season of live theatre in Stoneham, MA, the mission of Stoneham Theatre is to keep the art of professional theatre and dramatic education thriving in the suburbs. Each season, we produce seven Mainstage shows, present a series of Special Events, and run year-round classes, lessons, and fully staged productions through the young company for students in grades 1-12.

*Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association


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